The November 29, 2006 attack on trainer Ken Peters by a killer whale (Orcinus-orca) named Kasatka led to an investigation by California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, much akin to the more recent OSHA investigation into the brutal death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
Although the injuries sustained by Peters were relatively mild by comparison, the video which was shown in court proceedings this past Fall led Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch to describe the footage as “chilling” as he ruled to uphold the charges in the SeaWorld vs OSHA case. SeaWorld was appealing the OSHA citations issued to the marine park after Dawn Brancheau’s death.
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By months end, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment must decide whether it will accept the decision handed down by an Administrative law judge last Wednesday. The order by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission fundamentally upheld citations issued to the Orlando, Florida marine park by OSHA following the brutal death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010.
SeaWorld appealed the August 2010 citations during nine days of highly publicized hearings last fall. At stake was the most egregious violation “for exposing animal trainers to struck-by and drowning hazards when working with killer whales during performances”.
“OSHA’s intent has been to ensure the safety and health of employees who work with SeaWorld’s killer whales in performances,” said Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “In his decision, the judge has upheld the OSHA citations. That is a win for the employees of SeaWorld.”
In his rather scathing order, the honorable Judge Ken Welsch unequivocally highlighted the “very high gravity” of SeaWorld’s apparent knowledge of hazards that resulted in the death of the veteran trainer.
A leaky pool, sanitation issues, and a deteriorating roof at Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale stadium are threatening the welfare of orca Lolita and the dolphins housed in the oldest, smallest, and most decrepit marine park pools in the United States.
A recent inspection conducted by the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) found several issues with the structure which poses a risk to the marine mammals housed in this facility which are supposed to be protected by the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The structural deficiencies may also pose significant risk of injury to employees and the hundreds of daily visitors to the Key Biscayne entertainment facility.
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The skeletal remains of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) were exhumed on Tuesday to become part of the display at the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Nami, also known as Nami-Chan, died January 14, 2011 at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium just 7 months after being transferred there from her captive home of 24 years in Taiji.
According to Japanese news reports, Nami’s body was returned to Taiji seven months ago and buried to allow for decomposition of the 28-year-young killer whale. She was the last surviving orca captured in Japanese waters.
Captured off the Taiji coast in October of 1985 when she was barely 3 years old, Nami was forced to perform at the Taiji Whale Museum in an enclosed sea pen at the seaside marine park for 24 years. In June of 2010 she was sent by barge to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium to become a part of a breeding program in conjunction with Kamogawa SeaWorld. It is during her stay in Taiji where she is suspected to have ingested some 491 stones weighing 81.4 kilograms (179.5 lbs) found lodged in her stomach during a necropsy performed following her death.
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In a futile attempt at damage control, the Dolphinarium Harderwijk has published an article in Zooquaria Magazine, a quarterly publication of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) following the November transfer of rescued orca Morgan to Loro Parque in Tenerife.
The 1-page article is published in the appropriate section: MEDIA AND PR, because it’s nothing more than that. And it definitely doesn’t contain anything “scientifically sound and realistic”:
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Recently released photos reveal more damaging evidence into the haphazard management of killer whale care and trainer safety at SeaWorld’s Orlando, Florida theme park. The Orca Project has obtained photographs from the 2010 OSHA investigation into the death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, which appear to show harmful chemicals stored with the food supply for killer whales at Shamu Stadium. The placement and storage of the potentially toxic materials are not in compliance with OSHA Standards for employee safety and are clear violations of the Animal Welfare Act, placing the orca’s nutritional supply at risk for contamination.
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David joined “Intersection” host Mark Simpson and a panel of guests including former SeaWorld trainer John Jett, PhD and Rollins College Professor of Marketing and Ethics, Mark Johnston PhD, to discuss how SeaWorld will move forward following the death of Dawn Brancheau and what the future holds for the marine park’s “Shamu” shows.
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